by David Sisler

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Threescore men and threescore more cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before." In 1810, when the riddle first appeared in print, neither the king's men nor his horses attempted the repairs of the world's most famous egg. Regardless of the form in which you memorized it, the message of Humpty Dumpty is the same: some things cannot be fixed.

Writing about the inherent problems in Bosnia in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Colin Woodard said, "As a child I doubted that the project to restore Humpty Dumpty was going to be successful, even if all the king's horses and all the king's men could manage to overcome their divergent interests and obvious obstacles to communication to see the project through."

Some things cannot be fixed.

Take for instance the strange case of Darryl Strawberry. In 17 major league baseball seasons Strawberry has compiled some impressive statistics. For every four times he has appeared at the plate, he has made an out three times. Through the 1998 season, he has only 50 more hits than strike-outs. I could not find Strawberry's 1999 stats, but through 16 major league campaigns, he has only one sacrifice hit and 53 sacrifice flies meaning, either he does not get the opportunity, or he just does not give himself up very often to help his team.

Darryl Strawberry, a man who has been considered one of baseball's superstars, was suspended from the game for one year because of cocaine use. It was his third suspension. He seems to be unable to break his dependency on a life-threatening, career-destroying drug. Some things cannot be fixed.

From the wide world of sports, follow me into the ultimate expression of masochism automobile purchasing. I would rather be staked out in my front yard between 17 red ant hills than to shop for a car. You understand, therefore, why I last bought a new car in 1988 (and today the "Samara-mobile" has 175,000 miles on it).

My son, Matthew, is searching for pick up truck, and he invited dear old Dad to go along (and all the while I thought my son loved me!). At one lot we were assaulted by the most aggressive, obnoxious, hard-sell salesman it has ever been my displeasure to meet.

When we asked the price, the salesman did not know. When we came back from a spin around the block, he hadn't had time to look it up, but if we'd step inside, he'd get it. You know what happened next.

"Matthew, if I can get the price where you want it, will you buy this truck tonight?"

That was the most pleasant part of the next ten minutes. After deflecting several rounds of hard-sell, Matt said, "I just want to know what you'll sell the truck to me for. I am giving you one more chance to tell me, or we are walking out." My smile stretched my ears. The salesman assured us he would face the wrath of his manager one more time if Matt would only make a commitment. Matt stood up and said, "Let's go, Dad."

We headed for the door, with the salesman only two steps behind, pleading for one more chance. Once outside, Matt said, "Okay, but no more games." We waited while more games were played.

Disgusted, we got into my car, and I backed into the lot. The salesman came racing up, tapped on the window, and said, "I've got your deal." I looked at Matt, he shook his head, and I shook mine.

At that point the salesman jumped in front of our car to block our exit. The phrase, "Move it, or lose it," came immediately to mind. When we got back to the house, there was a message waiting from the salesman, apologizing, and assuring us, he had the price, if we would only come back. I quizzed Matt with an upraised eyebrow and he said, "No way!" The breach of trust was irreparable. Some things, cannot be fixed.

Dr. Hickey is the pen name of Herman I. Kantor, author of Mother Goose & More, Classic Rhymes with Added Lines. Not satisfied with the original conclusion of"Humpty Dumpty," Dr. Hickey wrote: "They called a doctor from the town to come and fix poor Humpty's crown. He put a stitch in Humpty's leg and bandaged up poor Humpty's egg. He used some tape and then some glue, and Humpty's now as good as new."

If you need a complete personal, inside repair job, not merely a patching with tape and glue, ask your Heavenly Father. His son, Jesus of Nazareth, specializes in fixing the unfixable.


Published in The Augusta Chronicle 3/11/2000

Copyright 2000 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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